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Postgame Quotes - Saint Mary's 70, San Diego 63

Jan. 6, 2018

Recap |  Final Stats

Head Coach Randy Bennett

Q: Opening Statement...
Bennett: “They are a good team. Going into this game I knew that they were good team. They are really well coached on both ends. They are hard to prepare for offensively.”

“It is good to be down and then come back, it creates greater toughness and belief. Our guys have done a good job keeping their composure and tonight was a great example of that.”

Q: What does San Diego do to make it tough to guard defensively?
Bennett: “They are good defensively. They don’t give you threes and play straight up in the post. They don’t help on strong side penetration, they are quick and pretty long. They don’t have any smaller guys either, they play a lot of guys who are 6’6’ and above. I was trying to figure out why their numbers are so good. They are legit. We went 1-for-11 from the three-point range and they certainly had something to do with it.”

Q: Thoughts on Cullen Neal’s night…
Bennett: “He has been playing well. He is not trying to make a play every time the ball hits his hands. Being a fifth year transfer is tough, and there are expectations from him. It is tough but he has fought through it pretty well and has been playing well. These last four to five games he has been playing well and tonight he really helped us.”

Q: What do you think about Emmett’s [Naar] performance tonight coming off of a 15 assist night and now as a scorer…
Bennett: “Emmett had to either finish the ball or give it back to Jock [Landale]. They end up playing 2 on 2 is what they do. He was good, he recognized it. He finished layups and was aggressive in that way. Emmett found a solution.”

Guard Cullen Neal
Q: What are your thoughts on the game tonight?
Neal: “It was a great game, home game, great atmosphere. I think as a team we wanted to get this done. We came off beating a great team. It’s awesome.”

Q: I bet this is the type of game that attracted you to this place. Was that something you took into consideration when you transferred here?
Neal: “Oh definitely. Always playing against good teams is a lot of fun and its extra special because Coach Smith use to coach me and he’s real close with me and my family. So the whole game was fun.”

Q: Whenever I come out and you guys play, someone else along with Jock and Emmett usually steps up, did you feel a need to do that tonight with the way things were going?
Neal: “Coach tells me everyday to keep working and keep pushing and getting better, so going into the game, that's the mindset I have and hopefully I can keep getting better have have many more performances like this.”

Q: The scoring will obviously show up. You had a couple steals, a couple charges, made a play there where you knocked one off of their player to get the possession...What does that do for the team when you make those kind of plays?
Neal: “I mean, the breaks I got, when I swiped it out twice from the other team, that's just working hard, and that's what coach teaches, so as long as we keep working hard as a team, we’ll go a long way.”

Q: I heard San Diego had a great defensive team, what do they do to make things so tough?
Neal: “They guard hard and they are a really good defensive team. They guard small so it allows all five guys on the court to be able to guard one through five, and I think that is a great aspect of their team.”

Q: This was a rare night where Emmett didn’t have a lot of assists, but he did some things scoring, what was that about, were they trying to turn him into a scorer?
Neal: “Definitely, that's the way they were playing us. They were all leading shooters, and they wanted Emmett to make plays and he did.”

Q: Did you say anything to Coach Smith?
Neal: “Oh of course, that's my guy, he’s like family, so it was definitely a lot of fun.”

Guard Emmett Naar
Q: “Reading the game, can you become more of scorer than a distributor like tonight?”
Naar: “I think so. I knew going in they were one of the best teams in our league, so I wouldn’t get too many of those kick outs.”

Q: “It was a rare, rough night of shooting for you guys tonight. How did you overcome that?”
Naar: “The big thing was defensively. That’s just how basketball is, you’re not going to make every shot every time. Otherwise, we’d never lose. We have to buckle down on defense, and the guys did a great job of that. Calvin [Hermanson] especially gave us a big lift there with a great defensive game. That’s what is important.”

Q: “Do you expect these kind of games out of Cullen? It seems like you guys always have a third or fourth guy step up with you and Jock.”
Naar: “We’ve seen it all. He can always light it up pretty quickly, and he never lacks confidence. It’s not unexpected, and it’s a big thing for us. He gives us a big lift off the bench.”

Q: “What’s your confidence level at right now, with the big overtime win against BYU and coming back here tonight to fight one?”
Naar: “We’re feeling pretty good. Obviously, I’d feel more comfortable if we were winning by a bit more. We’ve been playing great teams, and San Diego is one of them. To be able to grind out a game like that gives us confidence so that when it is tight we can take care of business.”

Q: “Two of these last three games have been pretty close. What does that do for you guys to pull these games out?”
Naar: “Coach tells us all the time that it’s about composure. We just need to keep doing what we do for forty minutes. We trust the coaches system, so hopefully the other team will crack and we won’t. We try not to let our heads drop and do the same thing every time. Hopefully it will work, and we’ll go back to the drawing board if it doesn’t.”



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